Khairullah Rahim and Moses Tan in Bad Imitation

15 Jan 2022

Curated by Berny Tan and Daniel Chong, Bad Imitation is an exhibition that deliberately occupies a blurry threshold between copy and original. Moving beyond discourses of authenticity and faithfulness, framing this threshold as a generative space of difference. Across the diverse practices of eight different artists, the exhibition presents imitations that are clumsy, flawed, and intentionally adjacent to the original, revealing more of its original than the original ever could.

The collaborative work between Khairullah Rahim and Nghia Phung in Bad Imitation references ‘stray objects’ that the artists have regularly observed in working class neighbourhoods. These random domestic objects appears to be abandoned, yet have been transformed into a makeshift storage or resting spaces outside of the home. Their presence in common areas disrupts the boundaries between public and private, but also possesses a secondary contradiction: their resourceful ‘owners’ must accept that the object and their functions will always be the subject of surveillance, and may even be cleared away without warning. As a result, what could have been a welcoming space of respite for a resident or worker is also a precarious space of hostility.

Moses Tan presented a video installation using abstract representations and descriptions of the body as a basis to explore interweaving themes of gossip, melancholy and narration. Positing an anonymous individual as the subject of an autopsy to determine the cause of death, inspired by various ‘true crime’ forensic television shows. In such scenes, speculative, faux-scientific articulations are often framed as fact, yet interspersed with a personal and poetic observations, developing further plot and characterisation.

Bad Imitation was presented at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Singapore from 14 – 23 January 2022.

Images: Khairullah Rahim and Nghia Phung, after-party, 2022, found objects, readymades, potted plants, dimensions variable; Moses Tan, A whispering of salt, 2021–22, polymer sculptures, light-box prints, light-box, steel table, HD video with sound, dimensions variable